Baseball 101: Questions Nos. 31-45 answered; Larsen or Haddix, Rose vs. Fosse, greatest collapse

Our series of the 101 thought-provoking baseball questions, supplied by Mark Hermann of Newsday, continues:

31. Which is the better performance: Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series or Harvey Haddix’s 12 innings of perfection in 1959?

Hmmm. I debated this one for a while. Originally, I thought Haddix, because 36 up and 36 down seemed more impressive than 27. But I’m going to have to say Larsen’s perfecto. Why? It was in the World Series. It’s the only perfect game in World Series history. It’s the only no-hitter in the series history. Up until 2010, it was the only postseason no-hitter. The last time there was even a one-hitter in the Series was in 1967. The last time someone took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in a Series game was 1969.

32. Pete Rose taking out Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game, and ruining Fosse’s career: Good hustle or unnecessary excess?

Neither. I’ve watched a replay of this play many times. And it appears to me that Rose is running hard to score. As he approached the plate, it looks like he was thinking about going into a head-first slide then changes his mind. You knows, maybe the third-base coach is telling him he doesn’t have to slide. Anyway, that indecision led Rose to stumble a bit into the plate. The throw from center was to Fosse’s left, which drew him right into the base path, and a collision ensued. I don’t think it was intentional. You have to remember that a home-plate collision also puts the runner at risk, and the only time to wants to collide with the catcher is if he feels as if the throw will beat him to the plate. In this case, Rose had the throw beaten. An unintended collision with an unfortunate result for Fosse. Take a look for yourself.

33. Should a pitcher be eligible to win the Most Valuable Player award or should that be reserved for an everyday player because pitchers have the Cy Young Award?

Sure a pitcher should be eligible. But I would not vote for one for MVP. I think the impact an everyday player has on the season is greater than for a player who appears in maybe 34 of 162 games.

34. Who was the best hitter: Felipe, Matty or Jesus Alou?

Felipe Alou. He hit 206 HRs, more than three times the number of his brothers combined. And he played longer, too.

35. Who is the best catcher: Bengie, Jose or Yadier Molina?

Yadier Molina. Better catcher, thrower, hitter and DEFINITELY, runner

36. Should baseball expand the use of instant replay to review close plays on the bases?

Only on plays at the plate … and maybe at first base when a pitcher is going for a perfect game in the ninth inning with Jim Joyce working the bag.

37. The knuckleball has historically proven to be an effective pitch. So why is R.A. Dickey of the Mets the only starter in the major leagues now using it?

Because it’s so darn hard to control effectively.

38. Why does spring training have so much more allure than training camp in the other sports?

Three reasons. 1) When it falls in the calendar. Spring training signals the hope of sunnier, warmer days of spring and summer after a long cold winter; 2) Because of the minor league system, spring training offers fans the chance to get a look at younger players who may be the stars of the future; 3) because of the 162-game schedule, everyone on the 25-man MLB roster has value, so battles for the last roster spots are intriguing. Who cares who is the 12th-man on an NBA roster or who is the third-string pulling guard on an NFL team?

39. Which was the greatest collapse, the 1964 Phillies, 2007 and/or 2008 Mets, 2011 Braves or 2011 Red Sox?

Gotta go with The Phold. Six-and-a-half games up with 12 to play, then go out and lose 10 straight including seven in a row at home? Doesn’t get much worse than that.

40. Where is the best place for youngsters to get autographs?

Between the dugout and foul pole during batting practice.

41. Will baseball ever go the way of the NBA and allow loud music during the actual playing of the game, rather than just during breaks?

No. A battle charge or the playing La Cucaracha will suffice, thank you very much. Also baseball will not institute laser-light shows during announcement of starting lineups, confetti showers after wins or allowing teams to advance a runner to third base automatically after calling timeouts late in the game.

42. Which is the better fantasy baseball format: Head-to-head or roto?

Well, if you want the owners with the best player to win, roto is best. But for entertainment and engagement between owners, head-to-head is better. The best option is for a league that uses both formats.

43. With the hundreds of Tommy John surgeries having been performed since the first one in 1974, why has no pitcher, according to ESPN The Magazine, won more games after the operation than Tommy John himself (164)?

Because then they would have to rename the surgery.

44. What is the best baseball novel ever written?

I’m a baseball blogger. I don’t read books!?!? Well, um, I’ll say “Bang the Drum Slowly” because it’s got a good plot and I can dance to it.

45. What is the best baseball biography ever written?

“Cobb” by Al Stump, because I’ve actually read it. Besides, maybe one of the most interesting characters of the game.

Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 1-15

Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 16-30

Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 46-60

Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 61-75 COMING SOON

Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 76-90 COMING SOON

Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 91-101 COMING SOON

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